Tips for Before & During a Move

Hello, hello, hello! Long time, no see, friends. Life has been moving at lightning speed, and I’m so happy to fill you in as to why I’ve been MIA for a month.

Life Update

Where have I been, you might be wondering? Well, let me tell you! My boyfriend, Cesar and I actually moved the first week of October from Weehawken to Hoboken, New Jersey (a mile south from where we were living).

Downsizing by 300-350 square feet and 1.5 bedrooms was a little terrifying. We lived in an old multi-family home (4 apartments) and had a great amount of space. We had a TON of space. So why did we decide to move? To be honest, I was the one pushing for the move way more so than Cesar. Our apartment was the second floor and the third floor, which was basically the attic. The staircase to get up to the third floor (our bedroom and walk-in closet) was so narrow, I barely fit walking up it – you can imagine how hard it was to get anything up and down that staircase! On top of that, our only bathroom was on the second floor, and it was a pretty significant inconvenience coming up and down those narrow stairs in the middle of the night if we needed to use the bathroom. However, the biggest reason why I wanted to move was because our radiator heat barely worked throughout our time living there. Seriously, it was like the heating system was so old that the hot water couldn’t pump all the way up to the third floor, and our bedroom was always freezing in the winter. We used a space heater, which I was super paranoid about/sometimes forgot to turn on/made our electric bill skyrocket during the winter months. With all of that in mind, you can imagine why I was excited to move, yeah?

Thinking about our next home, I wanted a bit of an upgrade – I was looking for a few more amenities that we didn’t have. Having a secure, doorman building was really desirable to me, as Cesar travels a lot for work and playing paintball, and I hate being home alone (you can read my post about being paranoid here). Being able to control our air conditioning and heat was also super important given our situation at our apartment in Weehawken. Living in a building that takes care of the property and takes pride in it was important because our apartment in Weehawken was great but our landlord was much more reactive than proactive in regards to taking care of the place. Easy access to other things like a gym/pool wasn’t a necessity but more like a dream (when you live in the NYC metro area, you can’t take these things for granted – they hardly exist around here without shelling out your entire monthly paycheck!).

So when I found a doorman building (a co-op) that had a one bedroom unit available for rent for about $250 LESS than what we were paying in Weehawken, and it was located at the north end of Hoboken, right up the 14th street bridge from the new Trader Joe’s and down the street from the 9th & Congress light rail station, I got excited. Cesar was out of town for work, so I went to look at the space by myself, and the couple moving out was really honest when I was asking questions about the building and living there. Long story short, we decided to rent this unit. It’s on the 12th floor facing the west with amazing sunsets!

Not only did we move apartments, but we downsized BIG TIME; we went from a 2.5 bedroom apartment to a true one bedroom apartment. Having lived at our old place for 2.5 years, it was shocking at how much random STUFF we had accumulated – you don’t realize it until you have to pack everything up to move. As you can imagine, we had a TON of prep work to do in only 3.5 weeks time to get ready for this move. It took weeks, literally weeks, to sort through all of our belongings. And you know what? We didn’t use/need/value nearly half of our belongings! It seemed like absolute craziness realizing how much useless crap we had once we got started decluttering.

We sold over half of our belongings and donated between $500-1,000 worth of stuff. For the items we wanted to sell, we posted them on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, Nextdoor, and the letgo app. Of course, uploading photos, writing descriptions, organization days and times for potentially interested people to come look and buy items took so. much. time. At first, I felt really guilty about not writing, but I had no time at all to focus on it. Then I realized that moving and downsizing was the top priority for the next 4 weeks, so I gave moving ALL of my attention, and that’s that, no need to feel guilty about anything.

Tips for Before a Move

No matter how you do it, moving is a tedious and long process – for everyone. For those that don’t know, I’ve lived in Italy, moved from the Midwest to Denver, from Denver to New York City, from NYC to across the river in Jersey, and now from Weehawken to Hoboken, New Jersey. With all of these moving experiences, I’ve come to a consensus on some of the most important things to do before/during/after the move day, and today I’m going to share them with you!

1. Declutter

Figure out what’s still useful and valuable to you and ditch the rest. Too much time, packing, and money goes into packing up stuff that isn’t needed.

2. Get Moving Supplies

It’s the worst feeling when you get in the groove of packing (it takes a certain kind of productive mood for me to get a lot of packing done) and to run out of boxes, paper stuffing, or packing tape. Don’t let poor planning delay your productivity! We were lucky that our previous neighbor had recently moved, and she gave us all the moving supplies she had for free – total win because moving supplies can get expensive. Pro tip: people often post moving supplies for free/cheap online at Facebook marketplace/Craigslist/Nextdoor. Check out these places before buying moving supplies.

3. Be Strategic in How You Pack & Label Your Boxes

This may seem like a no-brainer, but for real, be logical in your packing. Don’t pack your blowdryer 2 weeks before your move if you use it every other day. First, pack items that are used infrequently. I packed books, out of season clothing items and shoes, linens, and home decor weeks before we moved then waited until the week of the move to pack our more frequently used items like dishes, food, toiletries, makeup, the printer, etc. Be strategic with how you pack all this stuff up. When packing glasses, use a ton of packing paper and bubble wrap to ensure your items are kept safe in the boxes, and clearly label the boxes “FRAGILE” to avoid any mishandling. If you’re moving plastic bins full of clothing like I did, then make sure you tape the lids onto the bins with strong, sturdy packing tape to avoid any lids popping off and spillage happening (is spillage a word? IDK, I think I just made that up?!).

4. Finalize All Moving Logistics

I won’t go into too much detail for this, but you have to let a lot of places know that you’re moving. For example, you have to officially change your address with the following places: your HR department at work, the US Postal Service, your credit card service provider, renters insurance, internet/cable provider (and there’s usually a move fee to set up your services at your new home), and any other place that sends you bills. On top of changing your address, determine how the move will happen. Are you going to move yourself? If so, schedule a moving vehicle. This is what Cesar and I did – we rented a 17-foot U-haul (recommended for 2 bedroom homes). We filled it 2 times: the first time we only took our big furniture pieces. The second trip was all of our boxes, and oh my! We had nearly 50 boxes full of stuff. Moving took us about 8 hours and we spent $70 for the U-haul. Now, my old neighbor that moved out of our apartment building about a month before us paid a moving service (3 men moved her boxes and furniture out of a one bedroom apartment), and she spent nearly $1,000. I’ve seen moving quotes much cheaper than that (she even said that she got screwed over), but I think $500-700 is typical around the NYC metro area for having a moving company move you. Do you need to schedule your move-in date with your new landlord? When will you receive the keys to your new place? Confirm this, too. If you rent, then schedule a final walk-through of your old home, take photos of the empty space, and confirm when your landlord will give/send you the security deposit.

I found a few tips in this moving checklist from Real Simple helpful for our move.

5. Dedicate Two Days for Cleaning Your Old Place

The task that I loathe the most about moving is cleaning. I have terribly sensitive allergies (I’m allergic to dust), and every time I clean, I fall into a fit of sneezes and watery eyes #nobueno If you want to earn your security deposit back, it’s important to leave the unit looking clean. Cesar and I did clean and touch up walls with spackle and paint, but at the end of the day, we hired a man from Nextdoor that cleans homes on the side to make additional income, and he was AMAZING. He cleaned our entire apartment for $100 and spent about 4 hours doing so. On top of his amazing cleaning skills, he tried to help us move some of our last items out of our apartment. We had a handful of items left to donate, and we ended up giving some items to him – you should have seen the gratitude on this guy’s face, it was incredibly humbling and made our hearts very full knowing that our belongings were going to someone who would really find good use in them.

6. Pack a Weekender Bag with Necessities for the Day of the Move

When moving, no one has time to be searching for a toothbrush, roll of toilet paper, a clean outfit/pair of pajamas, etc. Pack a “necessities” bag with all the little things you’ll need the day of your move to stress less about those second-thought details.

During A Move

1. Start Your Moving Day Early

Get your day started with breakfast and stretching. Regardless of who is moving your stuff, no one enjoys being hungry or stiff so prep your body for an active day that will be full of lifting, loading, organizing, walking up and down stairs, and burning a lot of calories.

2. Be Strategic About What You Wear

Depending on the time of year and weather, wear some type of breathable, active clothing for the move. Always wear high-quality shoes because you’ll be on your feet most of the day. I also prefer wearing sneakers with good grip because I don’t want to slip when going up and down stairs or loading the moving truck. Also, protect your body from the sun by wearing sunscreen and a baseball cap.

Pro tip: Don’t wear all black errthang if it’s the middle of August when you’re moving (you will be miserable).

3. Teamwork Equals 100% of the Work

I don’t know about you, but moving can be a stressful process for me. However, I have learned to go into the moving day with a positive mindset, excitement, and teamwork in mind. When Cesar and I moved, I focused my mindset on how great it was going to be being moved into our new place, and I thought of our teamwork as equalling 100 percent of the work. Now, that didn’t mean we each did 50% of the work. No, it definitely wasn’t equal. Cesar hates tedious, repetitive tasks, so I did a lot of the pre-packing of our belongings. I don’t particularly enjoy (or am good at) lifting really heavy pieces of furniture, so Cesar and a recruited friend moved the big stuff. At the end of the move, we had all of our stuff at our new home, and it was because we did 100% of the work together.

Not only did we move, but a week later Cesar and I also packed up for our first international vacation together with his immediate family. We traveled throughout Spain and just returned home and had an amazing trip (will share more in an upcoming post!). We’ve barely had time to settle into our new space, but we’re slowly finding perfect spots for our belongings and unpacking/figuring out what we need. Once our apartment is more settled and “homey”, I also plan on dedicating a post to a tour of our home – stay tuned!

Okay, that’s all the big life update and moving tips that I have for today. Again, so so happy to be back to my corner of the internet and would love to hear some of your best moving tips in the comments below.